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The Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu (also known as the Cachicata, Soqma, and Chaski Trek) is an excursion that’s stayed out of the crowded traditional tourist circuits. It’s an excellent tour for those looking to delve into the Incas’ history and learn first-hand how life in the Andes works. The Inca Quarry Route was recently included in the top six Alternative Routes to Machu Picchu by National Geographic.The Inca Quarry trek is one of the newest and least crowded trekking routes to Machu Picchu. This wonderful trek will take you past high waterfalls, Inca ruins, and beautiful scenery.
Amidst the exuberant local flora and fauna, you’ll visit the archaeological site of Perolniyoc and pass through various communities near the Cachiqata quarry. The Incas took the stones from this quarry to build Ollantaytambo. You’ll be able to appreciate some rocks that were cut by the Incas in that place!
After three days of walking, you’ll go to Aguas Calientes by train. On the fourth day, you’ll visit the magnificent city of Machu Picchu. Our standard package includes the premium service of the Vistadome Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and accommodation in a pleasant and comfortable hotel there. It also includes dinner in the best restaurant in Aguas Calientes and the entrance to climb the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Your adventure begins today bright and early when we collect you from your accommodation in the morning and drive for one and a half hours to the starting point of our trek. Our private transport is extremely comfortable, and we’ll provide you with blankets in case you want to get a little more sleep on the journey.
Once we arrive at the starting point, and after enjoying a great breakfast, you’ll meet the cooks and horseman and get to know your team. Then, we’ll begin our hike with a 3 to 4 hour stretch to the pretty Perolniyoc waterfall. On the way, we’ll pass through the little town of Soqma and be surrounded by corn, potato, and quinoa fields. After you’ve had time to enjoy the beautiful valley landscape, you’ll get the chance to cool off or shower in the waterfall.
When you feel refreshed, we’ll continue to the Racaypata archaeological site, which was built on a cliff and boasts spectacular views of the surrounding valley. All our guides are experts in Inca history so that you can expect a quality history lesson! We’ll also have our lunch there, and you’ll get to try the exquisite food prepared by our team in the middle of the mountains.
The afternoon is relatively relaxing as we ascend for one more hour to reach our campsite at Rayan (3,700 m / 12,139 ft). You’ll be able to rest for the remainder of the day and wander around the area before a tasty dinner. While you wait for your food, take the opportunity to observe the clear Andean night sky. You’ll see constellations and shooting stars before heading to the comfort of your tent to wind down for the night.
After an energizing breakfast, we’ll head uphill for 3 hours to the first summit of the hike at Puccaqasa (4,400 m / 14,436 ft). You’ll get the most incredible views of the Sacred Valley from here, and, of course, it’s the perfect spot to get some amazing photos.
Later, we’ll descend for around 25 minutes to our lunch spot for a well-deserved meal. Recharge your energies with some more incredible food from our cooks before continuing with a 2-hour up and down hike. On the last 20 minutes of this stretch, you’ll head up to the highest point of the whole trek, the Kuychicassa Pass (4,500 m / 14,764 ft). You can expect some more wonderful landscapes from this height and observe snowy glaciers.
You’ll be heading downhill again afterward to the Inti Punku or Sun Gate archaeological site (3,900 m / 12,795 ft). You’ll learn a little about the site while you take in spectacular views of La Veronica glacier (5,682 m / 18,642 ft) and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which you’ll likely visit at some point during your time in Cusco.
Finally, there’ll be a 30-minute descent to our campsite in the Choquetacarpo sector (3,600 m / 11,811 ft). You can now rest for the evening and enjoy another tasty meal before heading to bed.
Just like every other morning, you’ll be greeted with a delicious and filling breakfast to get you going. We’ll then begin our 1-hour descent to the Cachicata quarries (3,520 m / 11,549 ft), where the stones were taken from to build Ollantaytambo. Inside the site, you’ll enjoy a guided tour to learn more about the place and observe the cut stone blocks whose transportation was interrupted by the arrival of the Spanish. It’s fascinating to see the perfect cuts that the Incas were able to create with simple materials.
After, we’ll descend from the quarry for 3 hours until we get to the quaint town of Ollantaytambo (2,792 m / 9,160 ft), where we’ll have lunch. Once we’ve finished, we’ll head to the train station to board the Expedition service to Aguas Calientes (2,040 m / 6,693 ft). Along the tracks, you’ll be able to observe the beautiful scenery of the Sacred Valley up close as you travel beside the Urubamba River. You’ll need your camera ready to take some great snaps!
Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, you’ll check-in at your hostel to rest before dinner if you feel tired. If you still have some energy, you can explore the small town or head to hot springs, which are the perfect place to relax your tired muscles after three days of walking. In the evening, we’ll enjoy dinner in one of the top restaurants before going to bed early because you’ll be up before sunrise to see Machu Picchu.
The big day has arrived! Make sure you’re up very early to beat the crowds at Machu Picchu. We’ll board a bus in Aguas Calientes at 5:30 am to reach the sanctuary at 6 am. Once inside, you’ll be able to see the golden morning sunrise over the incredible citadel. Take in the impressive views before you enjoy a 2-hour guided tour with your local expert. You’ll visit all the must-see sites before having 4 or 5 more hours to explore by yourself.
Now will be the perfect time to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain if you have pre-booked tickets. If not, you can hike up to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) or Inca Bridge free of charge. From all these places, you get a great view over the fortress.
A little after midday, it’ll be time to make your way down to Aguas Calientes. You’ll have a bit of time to grab some lunch in a restaurant of your choice before catching a train to Ollantaytambo. From there, our private transport will collect you and take you to your accommodation in Cusco. You’ll be able to put your feet up and reflect on your fantastic adventure. We’re sure your heart will be soaring with the magic of the Incas for weeks, months, even years to come!
All information meetings are held in your hotel at 6:00 p.m., one night before the tour begins. If you cannot attend, you must coordinate another time at the Peru Hike offices. These meetings last approximately 30 to 45 minutes and there you will be given a small duffel bag, in which you’ll put all the belongings you intend to bring on the trek that won’t be in your day pack.
ou’ll receive a canvas case or duffel bag during your briefing. The porters will take them on the way and will deliver them to you when you get to each camp. They measure 66 cm / 2 ft. Long x 36 cm / 1 ft. Wide.
A maximum of 5 kg is allowed for each duffel bag that includes the weight of your sleeping bag, mat, clothes and other personal items.
The trek has to be paid for in full by at least 7.30 pm two days before departure. For example, if your tour departs on a Wednesday, then you must come to our office before 7.30 pm on Monday.
It would be much appreciated if you pay the trek balance in cash US dollars or local currency. You can withdraw some money from several ATMs along Avenida Sol (either in US dollars or local Peruvian Soles). You can pay by credit card or PAYPAL online, but you will have to pay an 8% service charge, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. We do not accept bank checks or payment of the balance by traveler’s checks.
Of course! During the travel, your main luggage can be stored at our office(you can organize briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you are not going to need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags, put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (In the unlikely case of theft many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing all the items). Best put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Peru Hike can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historic Center of Cusco. The pickup time will be coordinated with your guide in the briefing. The pickup time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic. Cusco is a very old city, therefore, it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Returning from Machu Picchu requires quite a bit of logistics, but don’t worry. Everything is included in your tour!
Group tours are made up of different types of people. Physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route. It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, it will be the guide who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if said modifications can be made.
Strikes and demonstrations are usually frequent in Peru and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your excursion as planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date. Under these circumstances, tours may also be cancelled. In case of changes or cancellations, all situations will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority and our decisions will be made to protect it.
You’re responsible for your objects during the tour. Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our trucks, tents, or restaurants.
Here are some other options that will suit your needs
When we got the bad news, that the Salkantay trek was not possible to hike due to heavy rain, Peru Hike managed to rebook our trek very uncomplicated. With the Quarry trek, we landed on a magnificent alternative which we can recommend highly. The trek is far less crowded than all the other treks to Machu Picchu (we were the only group at this time) and the scenery was just stunning.
After a well organised pickup at our hostel, a relaxed breakfast and a visit to a local weaving factory, we started the hike in a valley (appr. 2900 m.a.s.l.) and made our way up to two passes (appr. 4500 and 4600 m.a.s.l.). Already after a few hours, we visited the first Pre-Inca site. Our guide, Elisban, knew a lot of interesting facts and history to every place we visited. He explained everything in a funny and though professional way.
Special mention should be made to the good food that was prepared always freshly by our two chefs Carmello and Lorenzo. They managed to produce a great variety of dishes under very simple conditions. Once even a chocolate-jelly-cake. Also the horsemen did a very good job in preparing our big tents for every lunch and every night. The tents and other equipment were in good condition. We slept well and woke up in front of the most beautiful views while getting a hot coca tea served at the bed.
Thank you for an unforgettable experience on the Quarry trek and Machu Picchu!